Pindrop - ContactCenterWorld.com Blog
Call centres have come a long way from purely recording calls for training and monitoring purposes. With the growing popularity of voice biometric technology, call centres can now collect new, crucial data points that businesses use to identify their customers. Because of that, it is imperative that the call centre is more aligned with other departments – so any data that is collected can be stored easily and securely.
With the EU General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) incoming, this issue is more relevant and urgent than ever. Under the new rules, data breaches will be met with severe fines – up to €20 million, or four per cent of total annual global turnover, whichever is greater. Not just that, the floodgates could open to a greater number of disputes over data security.
Cases such as the 2015 Court of Appeal ruling against Google that meant that Safari users have the right to sue the tech giant en masse for tracking their browsing data, and the matter involving Morrison’s employees having the ability to bring group action against the retailer after a data breach in 2014, are just a couple of instances that could be a regular occurrence when GDPR comes into force in 2018.
In light of this, companies storing sensitive data about their customers must treat it with absolute rigor. Here are five considerations prior to GDPR launching:
1. Review how (and where) you store customer data
The GDPR governs how organisations must handle the personal data of individuals based in the EU. This means that there will be tighter regulations on recording and archiving customer calls, amongst other data. How is this information stored? Is it even stored within your organisation? If you outsource any touch point of the call journey – i.e. tech support, customer service, sales – how do they access this information? A thorough audit of the data trail, to and from the call centre, will need to be done to identify where there are gaps.
2. Update your customer-facing processes
The GDPR guarantees customers a vast array of rights when it comes to their personal data. Individuals have the right to know why an organisation is processing their data, the right to object to automated decision making based on their data, and the right to change inaccurate data. How will your call centre operation communicate this information or process these kinds of requests? This could be a particular issue with passive enrolment processes, for voice biometric data, which by their very nature capture customer data automatically. Businesses will need to invest in technology that facilitates these new processes and training to ensure call centre employees are up to speed.
3. Check that your providers are GDPR ready
Publish Date: August 14, 2017 5:00 AM
Earlier this year, Gartner released a report which shed new light on how organisations can continue their pursuit against contact centre fraud.
Analysts Tricia Phillips and Jonathan Care recommend to “partner with contact centre leadership or third-party providers to implement fraud-prevention-based phoneprinting technology. This, they suggest, will help improve customer authentication and reduce call times for legitimate customers, while identifying high-risk calls for appropriate scrutiny.”
The report uncovers three important facts that are driving this urgency:
- Contact centres are often neglected in the fight against fraud and as such become the weak link in omnichannel organisations
- By 2020, 75 percent of omnichannel customer-facing organisations will sustain a targeted, cross-channel fraud attack with the contact centre as the primary point of compromise
- The technologies and techniques available to detect and prevent contact centre fraud and omnichannel fraud have reached a maturity point that justifies investment and integration for most organisations that have the need to mitigate contact centre fraud
At Pindrop, we have been tracking the increase in fraud call rates and have seen fraud exposure costs within call centres skyrocket during this time. Last year we analysed more than 500M calls and witnessed more than a 100 per cent increase in fraudulent activity.
Pindrop delivers solutions to cover nearly all components that Gartner highlights in the report to help solve the contact centre fraud problem, including:
- Implementing a solution: Pindrop’s Phoneprinting™ technology uses 147 unique call features to create a distinctive identifier for each caller so that calls are identified quickly and fraud is eliminated
- Using of biometric voice recognition: voice biometrics are imbedded in fraud detection technology and passively voiceprints every call to identify known fraudster
- Sending fraud activity to central fraud analytics tool: Use a centralised case management system that allows you to hear the full call exchange, review each calls risk assessment, and provide feedback leveraged by our consortium to help spot known fraudsters in your organisation and even other companies in our network
- Allowing CSRs to service customers without asking them to detect fraud: With advanced fraud detection technology, you should be able to catch over 80 percent fraudulent calls with less than 1 percent false positive rate. This assurance allows more focus on providing a positive customer experience
The contact centre is under attack and companies urgently need to reduce fraud exposure and provided a better authentication experience for their valued customers.
Publish Date: July 24, 2017 5:00 AM
How Phone Fraud by Actresses Damages Customer Trust in Businesses
Breaches and fraud cost businesses their reputations. If you can’t protect your customers’ data – or their money – then how can you expect to earn their trust?
But sometimes keeping customers safe and maintaining operational efficiency can tug the business in opposite directions. In a call centre, the time and resources needed to detect phone fraud can conflict with the goal of reducing call times and overheads.
Fraudsters are an operational drain on the call centre. Attackers often make multiple calls to gather intelligence about potential targets, reset passwords, change mailing addresses or make other account modifications. Not only does this reduce the number of customer service agents able to take legitimate calls – it increases the risk of money going missing and the reputational damage that inevitably follows.
To better understand the different methods used by fraudsters and how those methods sap call centre resources, Pindrop® Labs reviewed more than half a billion calls for fraudulent activity. We discovered that attackers assume a variety of personas, each with unique ways of siphoning off both your time and money.
Your awareness of these methods could be the key to protecting both your customers and your brand.
Introducing the Actress
This female fraudster calls from a service centre on behalf of other people who “do not speak English very well”.
The Actress is so-called because of her use of impressions to con call centre agents. She often switches between being herself and being the ‘actual customer’ on the same call. She’s also able to make herself sound like a man, or even a young boy.
Despite her unusual approach, the Actress has an extremely high hit rate.
Publish Date: July 17, 2017 5:00 AM
How the “Distorted Please” is Taking Advantage of Your Staff
You run a tight ship in your call centre. Your agents are highly trained to provide excellent customer service and resolve calls quickly.
But this commitment to making customers happy comes at a cost. It makes you a target for fraud. Attackers know that your employees want to deliver a great customer experience – and they exploit it ruthlessly.
Fraudsters are well known for their use of social engineering to manipulate agents into giving away confidential information. They often create personas or contrive situations on calls that they know will persuade agents to divulge personal information or make changes to account details.
To learn more about the tactics that fraudsters use, Pindrop® Labs reviewed more than half a billion calls for fraudulent activity. We identified a number of different but prolific fraudsters, each with their own methods for exploiting the good nature of customer service agents.
Here’s just one of the characters taking your customer service agents for a ride…
Introducing the “Distorted Please”
This fraudster uses voice distortion software to manipulate his natural sound by lowering or increasing the pitch. This gives him options, such as using a high-pitched voice to access accounts held by women.
Even with his voice disguised, this fraudster’s speech has identifiable characteristics – repeated use of the word “please” being his most obvious giveaway.
Publish Date: July 12, 2017 5:00 AM
How a Polite Welsh Lady is Racking up Phone Fraud Losses for Businesses
Of the many channels targeted by fraudsters, the call centre is perhaps the most popular. In fact, 61% of fraud losses from account takeovers involve it, according to research by Aite Group.
The reason is obvious. More often than not, phone defences amount to just one thing: the call centre agent. These employees are very rarely trained in fraud detection, making them susceptible to a number of techniques fraudsters use to gain access to accounts.
With a majority of other channels protected from fraud, many businesses do not have allocated budget towards phone protection or call centre training. This leaves them extremely vulnerable to phone fraud losses.
To understand the extent of the threat, Pindrop® Labs reviewed more than half a billion calls for fraudulent activity. We discovered that there are a number of different prolific fraudsters, each with a specific and identifiable modus operandi.
By understanding one type of attacker, you can identify the methods that many others use to target businesses and extract millions of pounds from them…
Introducing the Polite Welsh Lady
This woman with a slight Welsh accent is one of the most effective fraudsters our research has come across. She is extremely friendly, well-spoken, and able to put most call centre agents at ease.
The Polite Welsh Lady’s social engineering skills are not to be underestimated. Even when she does not have the correct information, she’s able to extract it from the agent by successfully controlling the conversation.
Using these tactics, she has successfully transferred several thousand pounds from a large number of accounts.
Plugging the Fraud Gap
The financial impact of phone fraudsters like the Polite Welsh Lady is huge. In the last year, data collected at Pindrop® Labs has shown a significant increase in the cost of fraud to businesses. In the UK alone £0.86 per call is lost to phone fraud – a 68% increase from £0.51 in 2015.
Publish Date: July 10, 2017 5:00 AM
Last week, the 18th annual Call Center Week, arranged by the International Quality and Production Center (IQPC), took place at the Mirage in Las Vegas. Featuring a number of global leaders and keynote speakers, as well as a multitude of workshops, exhibitors, and sponsors, the conference aimed to personalize the journey to perfecting the customer experience.
Fifty-four percent of attendees were directors, VP, or C-level employees, and industries from banking, finance, retail, healthcare, and the public sector were represented. Out of all CCW attendees, 34% were seeking new options to optimize their current call centers. The vision of Call Center Week is to offer new foundations based on bringing innovation and optimization to call centers globally. By doing this, the landscape of customer experience is simultaneously enhanced.
This year, CCW focused on call center and customer experience initiatives, which include increasing revenue and reducing operational costs, improving the first contact resolution and reducing wait time and cost per call, as well as improving agent retention.
In efforts of taking customer experience in the call center to the next level, there are three key attributes:
Publish Date: July 5, 2017 5:00 AM
Delivered by the International Quality and Production Center (IQPC), the 18th annual Call Center Week will be taking place from June 26-30th this year in Las Vegas. As the largest conference dedicated to the customer experience, there are over 2,000 expected attendees, in addition to 155 expert speakers, as well as 200 sponsors and exhibitors. CCW aims to bring together all elements of the customer experience through a multitude of workshops, speakers, keynote sessions, and other networking events.
Top 5 Takeaways from Last Year’s Conference
- Get Personal, Humanize the Non-Human: More and more often, call centers are becoming dominated by interactive voice response (IVR). The needs of customers can be met with the self-service capabilities of IVR, but they require the personability of human call center agents. The call center, whether dependent upon live agents or IVR, should coincide with acompany’s values and compliment the customer experience.
- Know Your Agents, Know Your Customers: In order for your call center to flourish, it is essential for agents to be treated like customers – as unique individuals. Agent engagement addsto the overall customer experience.
- Consistent Connections: Today’s customer experience environment is widely characterized by interwoven business channels. The need for connection requires data from past customer interactions to be used in the future, as communication between each agent is also important in maximizing the customer experience.
- Optimize the Omnichannel: Due to the expansion of media and technology, customers expect to be able to communicate through multiple channels. It is necessary for call centers to grow with the continuous expansion of media in order meet customers’ expectations.
- Be Predictive, Be Proactive: When customers contact companies through the call center, they are typically looking for answers to familiar questions. Call centers need to be predictive and proactive in determining why the customer is calling, which can then allow the delivery of near-immediate resolutions.
Pindrop® solutions help detect fraudsters and authenticate callers, reducing fraud and operational costs, while improving customer experience and protecting brand reputation for some of the world’s premier call centers.
In efforts to continue improving the customer experience in the call center, Pindrop will be participating in the upcoming Call Center Week as exhibitors at Booth 528.
Publish Date: June 21, 2017 5:00 AM
Whether it’s a bank, a brokerage, or a credit union, customers expect to be able to contact their financial institutions over the phone. They check account balances, transfer money, open new lines of credit, and change account information — each request being facilitated by a call center agent. However, these call center agents have few ways to determine whether the person they are speaking to on the phone is the actual customer, and this poses a serious threat that customer’s account information.
Caller ID is easily fooled by spoofing phone numbers or ANIs, and knowledge-based authentication questions (KBAs) such as “What’s your mother’s maiden name?” or “What was the name of your first pet?” are easily bypassed with the right information. A fraudster can socially engineer the answers, find them online with the multitude of personal information available through social media, or buy them on the black market. These criminals use every piece of data they can find to conduct sophisticated, multi-pronged attacks.
Call center agents are focused more on customer experience than fraud prevention, aiming to administer a pleasant, efficient authentication process so that they can address the customer’s problem or request as quickly as possible. When fraudsters gain access to legitimate customer accounts after surpassing security, they have the power to change contact information, passwords, and PIN numbers — blockading legitimate account owners from being able to access and secure their own money.
Publish Date: May 30, 2017 5:00 AM
Citizens expect to be able to contact their government agencies over the phone. Even though contact center representatives are trained to look out for red flags and call characteristics associated with fraud, the lack of multi-layered authentication, the use of social engineering, and the exploitation of the black market enables fraudsters to gain access to a multitude of classified information.
“Are you really who you say you are?”
Agencies are taking advantage of the advent of online services, which simultaneously removed many of the barriers linked with face-to-face contact. The lack of multi-layered authentication in current systems allows fraudsters in the public sector to use stolen identities and information to benefit from public assistance programs like Medicaid and food stamps. Fraudsters constantly change their approach with advances in technology; however, and the government is struggling to keep up.
Security is key in combating fraud, and in recent years, legislation and other forms of guidance have been set in place to recognize the importance of multi-layered authentication for cybersecurity. These efforts have been employed at the federal level by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), National Security Council (NSC), and Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Fraudsters work hard to break down the integrity of federal programs, which can be attributed to the decline of public trust in government.
Five Main Concerns:
Publish Date: May 24, 2017 5:00 AM
Throughout 2016, Pindrop analyzed more 700 million phone calls – many of them coming from companies that receive more than 40 million calls per year. Phone fraud has increased 113% cross-industry from 1 in every 2,000 calls in 2015 to 1 in every 937 calls in 2016. While all industries are experiencing increased fraud rates, retail stands out with 1 in every 491 incoming calls being fraudulent – a dramatic increase from 1 in every 1000 for 2015. This number exceeds the amount of calls coming into the call centers of credit card issuers, banks, and insurance companies – 1 in 832, 1 in 867, and 1 in 4,700, respectively.
“It’s a wild west out there,” says David Dewey, Director of Research at Pindrop.
Why is retail being targeted?
Retailers’ existing security systems are not robust or secure enough to handle the increasing volume of data filtering across web-enabled devices and processes. A digitally-influenced retail experience may enable brands to conduct business from a variety of access points, but it also allows criminals to take a multi-faceted approach to acquiring customer data.
Why are fraudsters redirecting their attacks to the call center?
With the rollout of EMV technology and improved security measures online, fraudsters have redirected their attacks to the phone channel – the weakest link in security. Call center agents often fall victim to these attacks because they are focused on administering quality customer service rather than detecting and preventing fraud. 61% of fraud can be traced back to the call center. The root cause of fraud loss, the call center, is often misdiagnosed by retailers, enabling fraud in other channels, such as debit card, credit card, and check order takeover – online fraud that occurs as soon as credentials are reset by call center agents.
Organized fraud rings use information acquired from data breaches and social websites to successfully impersonate customers and get through security questions. Because these questions are designed to allow legitimate users to easily access their accounts, call center agents don’t immediately assume these are illegitimate callers. On average, these fraudsters call in five times attempting to make changes to a victim’s account, such as the associated email address or physical address, in order to gain control.
Publish Date: May 10, 2017 5:00 AM
Martin Dodd, Managing Director, Connect, Lloyds Banking Group
With the spotlight remaining on the evolving threat of online fraud, phone fraud is an area that is often overlooked. It is, however, an area where fraudsters, aided by new technology, still look for opportunities.
Smarter thinking, collaboration and using innovation are helping organisations to stay a step ahead. We recently announced that we are implementing Pindrop’s patented Phoneprinting™ technology to help further protect our customers against potential fraudsters. The technology allows our contact centre colleagues to be in a better position to identify the authenticity of a caller, and therefore provide a better experience for the millions of customers who call us every day.
The science behind Phoneprinting
How it works is really impressive, identifying in real-time 147 unique characteristics of a call as it comes in and then using this insight to calculate a risk score. The risk score helps our colleagues to decide whether a caller is legitimate or a potential fraudster. We can then adapt the questions that we need to ask to verify and authenticate it’s a genuine customer that we are speaking to.
We’re always looking to be on the front foot where potential fraudsters are concerned and we know that we need to apply a number of different layers of detection and prevention. Technology like Pindrop’s Phoneprinting gives us an additional level of reassurance that we are detecting potential fraudsters faster and are therefore improving the experience for genuine customers with quicker authentication and shorter call times.
Development and expansion
Publish Date: April 13, 2017 5:00 AM
You’d think that the signs of ageing are obvious. Grey hairs, wrinkles and fading eyesight. But, as a study by Pindrop points out, it’s also your voice that can change.
With the growing use of voice recognition as a way to identify and authenticate callers, there has been a real need to make sure that businesses using this technology are doing so accurately. False readings not only hinder the customer experience, they can also open the door for fraudsters. Age, it turns out, can be a huge factor here.
A changing voice
Pindrop’s recent two-year study into voice ageing analysed 122 people, including native English, Dutch, German, Spanish and Italian speakers. It found that the expected error rate (EER) of positively identifying a speaker increased as time passed and the survey sample aged. In fact, in the study, the EER almost doubled over the course of the two-year period. It demonstrates that organisations who depend on voice biometric technology may find it very difficult to authenticate a person on voice alone, especially if they are an infrequent caller, as time passes.
The research also revealed that other factors, besides age, can lead to a change in voice. Dr. Elie Khoury, the principal researcher in the study, says that a person’s emotional state, stress levels, health and vocal effort can affect the pitch and speed of their voice, and therefore the accuracy of identification. What’s more, someone calling from a mobile phone in a rural part of Germany will sound different from someone calling from a landline in Berlin – a subtle difference that may not always be picked up by standard voice biometric technology.
Finally, the research suggests that people’s voices age uniquely at different rates. Which means that there is no one accepted factor that can be applied to take ageing into account. This finding highlights one of the key flaws of voice biometrics: it’s trouble with adapting to voice variation. Because unlike irises or fingerprints, which stay the same over the course of a person’s life, a changing voice can directly affect the accuracy of acceptances or rejections.
“Voice biometrics aren’t accurate enough on their own,” Khoury says. “You have to add other factors like spoofing detection and Phoneprinting™.”
Hear this out
Publish Date: April 10, 2017 5:00 AM
While the retail experience is becoming increasingly omnichannel, retailers are still neglecting the phone channel, the weakest link in security, as a common point of access for customers. Despite the intent to administer positive customer experiences, call center agents often fall victim to the methods that enable fraud attacks.
Top 5 Threats
- 61% of fraud can be traced back to the call center. The root cause of fraud loss, the call center, is often misdiagnosed by retailers, enabling fraud in other channels, such as debit card, credit card, and check order takeover — online fraud that occurs as soon as credentials are reset by call center agents.
- Retailers in the United States lost $60 billion to fraud in 2015 mostly due to increased chargeback fees coming from card-not-present (CNP) transactions. Fraudsters place orders using stolen credit card credentials, not only costing the retailer the price of the stolen merchandise, but also raising operational costs and increasing chargeback fees.
- One out of every 1000 calls into retail call centers is fraud-related. Retail is now the #1 target of cyberattacks, surpassing financial institutions, where one out of every 2,650 calls is fraud-related.
- One out of every 300 calls related to “fencible” retail products is a fraud-related call. Fraudsters especially like to target “fencible goods,” expensive, popular items easily resold on the black market.
- Fraud loss for retailers averages $3.4 million annually. Instead of using social engineering to gain access to money in an account, fraudsters target retailers by placing orders for material goods over the phone.
These fraud attacks increase operational costs, decrease customer satisfaction, and jeopardize brand reputation as customer data is repeatedly lost to fraud. Retailers’ existing security systems are not robust or secure enough to handle the increasing volume of data filtering across web-enabled devices and processes. A digitally-influenced retail experience may enable brands to conduct business from a variety of access points, but it is also putting their enterprises under siege.
On April 19, 1:00pm-2:00pm, Pindrop’s Director of Fraud Prevention and Strategy, Shawn Hall, will offer his insight into the ways that fraudsters surpass security methods and infiltrate organizations through call centers.
Publish Date: April 5, 2017 5:00 AM
PSCU, the nation’s leading credit union service organization, has partnered with Pindrop to identify and prevent call center authentication fraud. Call center fraud occurs when criminals use the phone channel to impersonate consumers to gain access to their account funds and sensitive data. PSCU is the first credit union service provider to utilize Pindrop’s proprietary platform for fighting call center authentication fraud.
“Through our partnership with Pindrop, PSCU continues to protect members by investing in risk management and advanced fraud detection solutions aimed at driving down fraud losses and improving the member’s identity authentication experience,” said Chuck Fagan, PSCU President and CEO. “The technology from Pindrop adds yet another layer of security and intelligence to our industry-leading risk management protocol to detect and prevent fraud.”
“PSCU’s fraud detection and prevention resources stopped $146 million in fraudulent transactions last year,” said Jack Lynch, PSCU SVP and Chief Risk Officer. “The partnership with Pindrop will help toughen our resistance to this emerging fraud threat in the voice channel. Our investment in new risk management technology is a key component of PSCU’s mission to support, protect and optimize every transaction we have with our Owner’s members.”
“We are excited about the partnership and we look forward to supporting PSCU’s commitment to service excellence by protecting their Owners and members against the increasing fraud threats that target call centers,” said Michael Hughes, Pindrop Vice President, Americas. “Over 61 percent of fraud starts with a phone call and the voice channel accounted for more than $10 billion in fraud last year in the U.S. PSCU is a proven leader in fraud and risk management best practices and we are proud to have the Pindrop technology as an integral component of their overall member authentication and risk management strategy.”
Pindrop’s patented technology, Phoneprinting™, analyzes 147 different factors in the audio of a phone call in order to create a unique signature that allows a fraud analyst to identify an illegitimate caller, while also determining the caller’s true geographic location, device type, and more. Unlike a phone number or a voice, this information is impossible for fraudsters manipulate. With Pindrop’s solution, customers catch over 80% of fraud calls with less than a 1% false positive rate. Contact centers are empowered with the technology necessary to stop fraud loss, reduce operations costs, protect brand reputation and compliance, and improve the customer’s overall experience.
According to Aite’s Senior Analyst, Shirley Inscoe, as large financial institutions implement anti-fraud and authentication technology like Phoneprinting™, fraudsters will move downstream and target smaller organizations, such as smaller banks and credit unions. With Pindrop, PSCU will be able to streamline the member authentication experience to enable faster issue resolution time through the voice channel. “Our Owners expect our call centers to protect them from fraudulent callers, and we must implement solutions that quickly and accurately validate incoming calls,” added Lynch. “Pindrop’s technology will help us add even more value to our fraud protection services and improve the overall member experience.”
Publish Date: March 7, 2017 5:00 AM
As the implementation of voice biometrics has become increasingly popular as a form of identification and authentication, researchers are challenged with determining how users’ voices change over time. New research shows that voices age significantly, even in the short term, making positive authentication more difficult with just voice biometrics alone.
One obstacle making the measurement of voice aging difficult is that every speaker’s voice ages uniquely and at a different rate. There is no universally accepted factor that can be applied to a known authentic recording to compensate for aging.
“Voice biometrics aren’t accurate enough on their own. You have to add other factors like spoofing detection and phoneprinting,” said Dr. Elie Khoury, a principal research scientist at Pindrop, who has conducted a long-term study on voice aging. Khoury will deliver an eye-opening presentation on his results at the RSA Conference today.
Biometrics have gained popularity in both consumer and enterprise applications for a number of reasons, specifically their trusted persistence. Most fingerprints and irises don’t change much over time, so these traits can serve as accurate long-term identifiers. But voice is different. Small changes in a user’s voice can have a direct impact on scoring models and result in false acceptances or rejections.
In a two-year study of 122 people — native speakers of English, Dutch, French, German, Spanish, and Italian — Khoury found that the expected error rate (EER) of positively identifying a given speaker increased significantly over time. In fact, the EER nearly doubled over the two-year the study. And it’s not just one trait that changes in a speaker’s voice, either.
“There’s a change in the pitch and the speed of the speech. When you compute the score, it will decrease slowly over time,” Khoury said. “That’s what’s risky for voice biometrics. The score should remain as high as possible for a match. Aging can make false detection or rejection go up over time. And the pitch will change multiple times during a lifetime.”
There also a number of additional factors, besides age, that can contribute to variances over time, including the emotional state, stress levels, health, and vocal effort of the speaker, all of which can have an effect on accurate identification, Khoury said. Compensating for these factors is the challenge for researchers looking to improve the accuracy of voice models.
Publish Date: February 17, 2017 5:00 AM